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kris in blazerKristen Ma came to Complections with very specific intentions. Co-owner of Pure + Simple, a chain of natural skincare and beauty spas, she had decided to incorporate make-up products into the fold. “We wanted to expand the line to make-up, which we’d never carried before,” she says. With two Pure + Simple locations up and running, Kristen took six weeks of Fashion Photographic make-up at Complections, learning the fundamentals of beauty (and a lesson in drag make-up!) which would inform the creation of the Pure + Simple cosmetic line. “I heard about the success that their graduates have had, and how important teaching professionalism is there. I had faith in the program because of that. It’s known as the best in the city, and it also has an international reputation.”

With three locations in Toronto and a new store in Oakville, Kristen’s passion and drive is evident. And although they didn’t intend to sell make-up at the store in the beginning, Pure + Simple now carries their own line, as well as Jane Iredale, Kiss Me and Nvey Eco.

Speaking to Complections students, potential students and alumni, Kristen offers these words of wisdom. “Go in with a goal. Knowing what direction you’re going in is really going to help. You want a return on your investment, because it’s a lot of time and money that you’re putting in to being there. The teachers are fantastic, and you can really get a lot out of what they teach if you’re present, and don’t do too many other things while you’re going there.” Kristen commends the school for their ability to teach students what’s professional, and what’s not, upon entering the workforce. “A huge part of the industry and your success is based on conduct…If I get a resume from someone who has graduated from Complections, I’m going to give it a second look because I can be almost positive they’re going to have the key skills and professionalism I’m looking for.”

With a book on natural skincare and beauty coming out this year, Kristen’s dreams have far exceeded the flagship Pure + Simple location at Yonge and Eglinton. And with the combination of passion, knowledge and a willingness to keep learning how to make her business the best there is, her star will undoubtedly continue to rise.